With tempers flaring and emotions running high over the fallout out demonetisation, senior Congress Party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's controversial remarks triggered a firestorm in the Rajya Sabha today, and were later expunged from the record.
Azad said that 40 people had died after the government rolled out demonetisation on 9 November, "double" the 18 soldiers who were killed in the attack carried out by Pakistani terrorists on an army base in Uri, Kashmir in September.
What ensured was an uproar in the upper house, which eventually lead to its adjournment for the day. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar described the remarks as "anti-national" and "atrocious," and demanded an apology from Azad and his party.
While lawmakers were able to carry out a rigorous debate on demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the first day of the Winter Session, discussions today deteriorated into shouting matches.
The Opposition led by the Congress Party demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi respond to widespread concerns about the fallout of demonetisation, which has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions of people for over a week now.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to speak in the Rajya Sabha. Speaking to ANI today, Jaitley ruled out any roll back of the demonetisation drive which is aimed at combating black money and corruption.
"There is no question of rolling it back. This is a clear decision of the government and the Prime Minister to purify the economic situation of the country. We will remain firm on this," he said.
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